If God has forgiven all my sins, why do I still have to repent?
“If my sins are forgiven, why do I still need to repent?”
There are multiple reasons why people might ask this question. It might be that they want to be conveniently excused for sinning: there might be a desire to be safe from the penalty of sin while not desiring to live apart from it. Or it might be that they feel powerless against sin: they know that they have been forgiven, but they feel trapped and unable to walk away from it. In either case, there is a lack of understanding about the Christian life – in particular, what it means to be forgiven – that needs to be addressed.
1.A new Lord to obey
Some who ask the question about why we still need to repent when our sins have been forgiven might have limited their understanding of salvation as simply the forgiveness of sin. Christiantiy is more than fire insurance, or the security that we are forgiven and safe from hell. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross did not only purchase our forgiveness, it also placed us in a right relationship where God is our Father and Christ is our Lord. Thus, we are under new management.
In the Bible, to repent is to change one’s mind in such a way that changes behavior as well. We first come to repentance when we change our mind about Jesus and acknowledge that He is Lord and Savior. When we acknowledge Christ as our Lord and Savior, not only are we forgiven, we become a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), are given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). Restored in our relationship with God, we now live under the lordship of Christ. Please read Ephesians 4:22-24.
2. A new life lived in gratitude
Romans 12:1-2 tells us that in view of God’s mercy toward us, change has to be expected from us. Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… Repentance involves a change of heart. Gratitude dictates that we leave a life of sin and live unto God.
3. A new power to live to God
Others who ask the question about why they need to repent if their sins have been forgiven may be struggling continuously with sin, even if they know that Jesus purchased their forgiveness on the cross. But Romans 6:1-18 states it clearly, that if we have accepted Christ as our Savior and have identified with Him in His death, then we have died to sin ourselves and are no longer slaves to sin (vv. 6-7). We are now slaves to righteousness (v. 18). Our allegiance is no longer to sin, but to righteousness. Therefore, in reality, through Christ’s death on the cross, we have been set free from the power of sin — so that we might turn away from a life of sin and live for God.
Once we have personally acknowledged Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, not only are our sins forgiven; we have also started a new relationship with God where we come under His rule. This entails putting off the old self and putting on the new self, out of obedience and gratitude to Him. The reality of Christ setting us free from slavery to sin enables us to walk out from our cage of sin and live unto God. Repentance is the grace of God that allows us to acknowledge the sin in our lives, and to thank God for the freedom Christ’s sacrifice has bought us. This allows us to continue walking in victory to become the men and women God has intended us to be.
Do you ever find yourself asking the question, “If my sins are already forgiven, why do I still need to repent?” If so, why?
Why is Christianity more than just “fire insurance”? Why is repentance part and parcel of the Christian life?
Look back to the time you first acknowledged Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. How much has changed in your life since then?
Read Ephesians 2:17-32. Prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to search your life. Are there areas in your life right now that remain to be more like the old, corrupted self that need to be put off? Are there habits related to the new righteous self that you need to put on?
Read Romans 6:1-18. What does this passage mean to you personally in relation to sinful living versus righteous living?
While accepting Jesus as your Savior and Lord is a one-time matter, enthroning Him as Lord in our lives is a daily, moment-by-moment one. Exercise repentance daily: agree with God about sin in your life, thank God for His forgiveness through Christs death, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, turn away from that sin in your life to pursue instead what God wants you to do.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Son Jesus, whose sacrificial death on the cross did not just grant me forgiveness from my sin, but also a dynamic, growing relationship between You and me. Thank You for the freedom Jesus sacrifice gave me that enables me to live for You. As I remember all Your kindness, goodness, mercy and grace towards me, I desire more and more to live in a way that pleases You. Thank You for making the grace of repentance available to me, and for enabling me through the power of the Holy Spirit, to change my mind, repent from sin, and to live for You. Please help me partake of this grace daily so that You can continue to work in me to become all that You intended me to be. In the name of Christ and for Your glory, Amen.